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The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s

Updated January 6, 2020 28.1k votes 2.7k voters 113.7k views70 items

List RulesVote up the most quintessential TV shows that aired between 1950 and 1959.

List of the top TV shows of the 1950s, as ranked by television enthusiasts and fans. In the 1950s, television was still relatively new. People were only just beginning to add a television set to their furniture collection. At the time there were only a handful of channels, and a very limited program selection. Since there were less TV show options, more people were watching the same shows and experiencing the same cultural phenomenons at the same time.

The most memorable shows that came from the 50s were sitcoms like "I Love Lucy," "Leave it to Beaver," and "The Honeymooners." These programs still rerun on TV to this day, due to their timeless nature. However, many of the programs that aired in the 50s did not stand the test of time. Many of these shows included ideals and jokes that are no longer relevant today. Most of the top shows from the 50s were variety comedy programs, starring the top comedians of the day including Jackie Gleason, Milton Berle, and Red Skelton. Many of the top programs were also game shows.

What is your favorite 1950s show? This list features the highest rated, critically acclaimed, and fan favorite shows of the 50s.

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  • The Twilight Zone1
    885
    200

    The Twilight Zone

    Rod Serling, Robert McCord

    Premiered1959

    Genres (Tv)Anthology, Drama, Horror, Mystery, Science Fiction

    The Twilight Zone is a 1959 American television anthology series created by Rod Serling. It is...  more
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  • I Love Lucy2
    912
    284

    I Love Lucy

    Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz

    Premiered1951

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    I Love Lucy is an American television sitcom starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance,...  more
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  • Looney Tunes3
    729
    162

    Looney Tunes

    Mel Blanc, June Foray

    Premiered1930

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Comedy

    Looney Tunes is an American animated series of comedy short films produced by Warner Bros....  more
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  • Leave It to Beaver4
    762
    248

    Leave It to Beaver

    Jerry Mathers, Hugh Beaumont

    Premiered1957

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Leave It to Beaver is an American television situation comedy about an inquisitive and often...  more
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    #66 of 309 The Greatest Sitcoms in Television History#13 of 76 The Best ABC Shows of All Time

  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents5
    555
    163

    Alfred Hitchcock Presents

    Alfred Hitchcock, Harry Tyler

    Premiered1955

    Genres (Tv)Crime Fiction, Anthology, Anthology series, Drama, Horror Film

    Alfred Hitchcock Presents is an American television anthology series hosted by Alfred...  more
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    #61 of 402 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time#17 of 54 The Best NBC Dramas of All Time

  • The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show6
    449
    115

    The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show

    Bill Scott, June Foray

    Premiered1959

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Satire, Animated cartoon, Variety show, Children's television series

    The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show is an American animated television series that originally aired...  more
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  • The Honeymooners7
    615
    197

    The Honeymooners

    Jackie Gleason, Art Carney

    Premiered1955

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    The Honeymooners is an American sitcom, based on a recurring 1951–55 sketch of the same name....  more
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    #14 of 45 The Best CBS Comedies of All Time#24 of 25 The Most Outrageous Emmy Snubs of All Time

  • The Ed Sullivan Show8
    462
    134

    The Ed Sullivan Show

    Ed Sullivan, Bern Bennett

    Premiered1948

    Genres (Tv)Sketch comedy, Variety show, Comedy, Family Film, Reality television

    The Ed Sullivan Show was an American TV variety show that ran on CBS from Sunday June 20, 1948...  more
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    #4 of 50 The Greatest Variety Shows in TV History#28 of 52 The Best Sketch Comedy TV Shows

  • Adventures of Superman9
    464
    124

    Adventures of Superman

    George Reeves, Noel Neill

    Premiered1952

    Genres (Tv)Action/Adventure, Police procedural, Drama, Children's television series, Adventure film

    Adventures of Superman is an American television series based on comic book characters and...  more
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    #418 of 644 The Best Cartoons of All Time#202 of 222 The Greatest Cartoon Theme Songs of All Time

  • Bonanza10
    443
    124

    Bonanza

    Lorne Greene, Michael Landon

    Premiered1959

    Genres (Tv)Western, Action/Adventure, Adventure film, Action

    Bonanza is an NBC television western series that ran from September 12, 1959, to January 16,...  more
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  • The Lone Ranger11
    438
    115

    The Lone Ranger

    Clayton Moore, Jay Silverheels

    Premiered1949

    Genres (Tv)Western

    The Lone Ranger is an American western drama television series that aired on the ABC...  more
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  • Tom and Jerry12
    457
    121

    Tom and Jerry

    Tom Kenny, Rick Zieff

    Premiered1940

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Comedy, Family Film

    Tom and Jerry is an American animated series of short films created in 1940, by William Hanna...  more
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  • Perry Mason13
    481
    138

    Perry Mason

    Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale

    Premiered1957

    Genres (Tv)Crime Fiction, Drama, Legal drama, Legal

    Perry Mason is an American legal drama series originally broadcast on CBS television from...  more
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  • Lassie14
    390
    115

    Lassie

    June Lockhart, Andy Clyde

    Premiered1954

    Genres (Tv)Action/Adventure, Drama, Children's television series, Adventure film, Action

    Lassie is an American television series that follows the adventures of a female Rough Collie...  more
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    #29 of 78 The Best CBS Shows of All Time#6 of 44 The Best CBS Dramas of All Time

  • Gunsmoke15
    468
    149

    Gunsmoke

    James Arness, Milburn Stone

    Premiered1955

    Genres (Tv)Western, Action/Adventure

    Gunsmoke is an American radio and television Western drama series created by director Norman...  more
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    The Best Gunsmoke Actors#224 of 277 The Most Overrated TV Shows Of All Time

  • Dragnet16
    401
    139

    Dragnet

    Jack Webb, Harry Morgan

    Premiered1952

    Genres (Tv)Crime Fiction, Police procedural, Drama

    Dragnet is an American radio, television and motion picture series, enacting the cases of a...  more
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    #35 of 70 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series#24 of 95 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time

  • The Red Skelton Show17
    349
    97

    The Red Skelton Show

    Ginger Rogers, Red Skelton

    Premiered1951

    Genres (Tv)Variety show, Sketch, Comedy

    The Red Skelton Show is an American variety show that was a television staple for two decades,...  more
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  • The Rifleman18
    372
    106

    The Rifleman

    Chuck Connors, Johnny Crawford

    Premiered1958

    Genres (Tv)Western, Action/Adventure

    The Rifleman is an American Western television program starring Chuck Connors as rancher Lucas...  more
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    #209 of 397 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch#21 of 44 The Best ABC Dramas of All Time

  • Father Knows Best19
    421
    148

    Father Knows Best

    Robert Young, Jane Wyatt

    Premiered1954

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Father Knows Best is an American radio and television comedy series which portrayed a middle...  more
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    #32 of 61 The Greatest Sitcoms from the 1960s#4 of 29 The Best Sitcoms from the 1950s

  • American Bandstand20
    324
    103

    Premiered1952

    Genres (Tv)Music, Talk show, Variety show

    American Bandstand is an American music-performance show that aired in various versions from...  more
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  • The Yogi Bear Show21
    365
    97

    The Yogi Bear Show

    Daws Butler, Don Messick

    Premiered1961

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Variety show, Children's television series, Comedy, Animated series

    The Yogi Bear Show is an animated television series and the first incarnation produced by...  more
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    #89 of 130 The Best Cartoons of the '90s#5 of 81 The Best Hanna-Barbera Cartoons You're Dying to Watch Again

  • Maverick22
    344
    96

    Maverick

    Jack Kelly, James Garner

    Premiered1957

    Genres (Tv)Western, Action/Adventure, Comedy

    Maverick is an American Western television series with comedic overtones created by Roy...  more
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  • The Three Stooges23
    487
    160

    The Three Stooges

    Moe Howard, Larry Fine

    Premiered1930

    Genres (Tv)Comedy

    A handful of Three Stooges shorts first aired on television in 1949, on the American...  more
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    #10 of 95 The Best Trios Of All Time#7 of 19 The Best Current AMC Shows

  • The Mickey Mouse Club24
    307
    107

    The Mickey Mouse Club

    Jimmie Dodd, Tommy Cole

    Premiered1955

    Genres (Tv)Variety show, Children's television series, Sketch

    The Mickey Mouse Club is an American variety television show that aired intermittently from...  more
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  • Candid Camera25
    280
    100

    Candid Camera

    Suzanne Somers, Dom DeLuise

    Premiered1948

    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Reality television

    Candid Camera (ABC, 1948) is an American hidden camera reality television series created by...  more
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    When The Host Of Candid Camera’s Plane Got Hijacked, Everyone Thought It Was A Joke... But It Wasn't#4 of 29 The Best TV Shows of the 1940s